Think of your brain as the interaction between the right and left part of your brain. On the left side of your brain are the rules, regulations, technology and with a need to control. Number crunching. Some basic functions of the left side of your brain are logic, reasoning, counting, planning, organizing, inspecting and analyzing.
On the right side of your brain is imagination, visual stimulation and emotion packed stories about relationship and experiences. The right side stirs us, entertains us and moves us in dramatic fashion. Some basic functions of the right side of your brain are imagining, seeing the big picture, relating, laughing, remembering and feeling.
The two sides of your brain are joined by 300 to 400 million fiber-optic connectors. At any given time those connectors are transmitting millions of pieces of information from the two sides of our brain with their two distinct ways of viewing our world. A computer has not been built that can mimic the instantaneous and diverse processing that takes place in our brain spontaneously. In a conversation with a client our brain is receiving and sorting input from the client’s words and body language while simultaneously preparing and organizing the information and ideas we wish to communicate. We take this complex process for granted but it is an amazing process. The truth is that we have not come close to utilizing the capabilities we possess in our thinking or communicating skills.
Our concern is the possibility that we might be off the mark 90 percent of the time in the way we communicate concepts and solutions to our clients. We know we are usually off by 50 percent because presentation materials and dialogue are predominately tailored to the left side of the brain – the number-crunching center. We believe this journey will help you to expand your brain’s potential to think and therefore communicate in clearer, more understandable ways to your clients.
The more knowledgeable you become about how human brains work, the simpler but more effective your presentations will become. This is just the opposite of what many people would expect. Usually, the more people know about a given topic, the more complex and detailed their explanations become, which is why we often fail to truly connect with the audience in our presentations. We have presented over their heads – and that causes mistrust.
What mistakes do we make that cause clients to walk away confused and in the dark? Some advisors purposely use complex language, thinking they elevate themselves in the eyes of the client. This approach often produces intimidation and confusion. Other advisors unwittingly confuse and intimidate clients by
- using too much trade jargon; or
- assuming clients know or understand more than they actually do (clients will often act as though they understand matters when they actually don’t).
When bringing up the issue of simplifying presentations, there might even be some who buck up and say ‘I’m a professional. I don’t want to appear simplistic or average. Clients come to me because I know more than they do’. Of course you are a professional. So are doctors and lawyers but we still prefer the ones who can come down off their soapbox and speak to us in a way that illuminates rather than confounds
When pondering the pure intelligence of simplicity, ponder some of history’s greatest minds. Einstein knew how to explain complex scientific principles in ways everyone could relate to. Consider this gem from Einstein on the theory of relativity: ‘When you place your hand on a hot stove for a second it feels like an hour. When you sit on a bench with a pretty girl for an hour it feels like a second – that’s relativity!” It was also Einstein who said “Things should be made as simple as possible but not any simpler”. The world’s greatest minds have known that metaphors, anecdotes, humor and illustrations are the more potent tools of teaching and persuasion.
We are confronting this idea of simplicity in presentation early on because, at its roots, this is what story selling is all about – making complex ideas understandable. Once these ideas are understood, the next step is establishing relevance into the life of the client. The KISS rule – keep it simple, stupid – is a foundational rule practiced by top producers in every sales realm. If you break that rule, you do so at your own risk.
One major reason we are not better communicators is because of the way we have been trained to think. Had we been taught to think with all our brain, we would also have learned to communicate to the whole brain as well. Our educational and business cultures place a heavy emphasis on left-brain functions to the neglect of the right-brain functions that are critical to our success. Communication, of which selling is one form, is just one area where the imbalance has cost us dearly.
Our education has been heavily weighted toward left-brain functions. The farther down the educational road we go, the more left leaning the focus. By the time one exits the education system thinking processes have become something like the leaning tower of Pisa. Our educational system aims to produce graduates who can crunch numbers, analyze facts, argue logically, find problems and implement logical solutions.
Most businesses perpetuate the left – brain obsession by emphasizing the bottom line and by aiming to reach that bottom line through organizing, managing, inspecting and controlling. These left-brain processes are necessary in any successful business, but the irony here is that these same companies tell their people that what they need to increase their bottom line are creativity, innovation, vision for the future, customer insight, persuasive selling and sensitive service. These profit building attributes are exclusive functions of the right brain and are hindered, if not totally crippled, by narrow left-brain thinking and many management practices.
Read on for a detailed breakdown of Telling the Financial Story.
What Can I Expect?
Here’s an outline of Telling the Financial Story
PART I HOW TO PUT HALF OF YOUR CLIENT’S BRAIN TO SLEEP
- Why Statistics Don’ t Sell and Stories Do
- Science & Art
- The Map of Your Brain
- The Roots of Story Selling
- Capturing Your Client’s Attention
- Risks and Decisions
- Learning to Speak the Language of the Right Brain
- Story Selling Triggers
- Visual Storytelling
- Emotional Affirmation
- What is your Gut Feeling? How Decisions Really Get Made
PART II BECOMING A BETTER STORYTELLER
- Reading and Leading Others
- Getting Others to Tell their Story
- How Humor Get You Further than Self Promotion
- Making The Intuitive Leap with Your Client
- Using Analogies and Metaphors to Move Your Clients and Products
PART III STORYTELLING IN DESIRABLE MARKETS
- Telling the Story of the Affluent
- Telling the Story of the 65+
- Telling the Woman’ s Story
- Let Me Tell You A Story
About Peter de Kuster
Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project, a storyteller which helps professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.
Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing, MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.
To book your place in the “Telling the Financial Story” mail peter at firstname.lastname@example.org